Fulton County: Challenger cannot run on GOP line
JOHNSTOWN Fulton County election officials ruled Friday that David Thum, the challenger for the 2nd Ward county supervisor’s seat held by Republican G. Michael Kinowski, filed an invalid page as part of his two-page candidacy petition.
The decision by county election commissioners eliminates Thum as a Republican candidate and leaves Kinowski with no primary opponent in September.
After Friday’s decision, Thum picked up a petition to establish an independent party candidacy that — if filed by the Aug. 23 deadline — would set up a contest between the two in November.
Fulton County Election Commissioner Brett Preston said it was determined that Thum failed to fill in the final column on the second page of his petition, the column that identifies the municipality where the election will be held — in this case the city of Johnstown. The oversight invalided the second page, disqualifying 16 signatures, Preston said. Candidates in the ward were required to submit 32 valid voter signatures and Thum filed 35. After the ruling, he was left with 19, Preston said.
“It was just a misinterpretation on my part about the rules,” Thum said Monday. He said the petition rules are complicated and require formalities that “don’t lend anything to the petition process.”
Thum expressed no hard feelings toward Kinowski for filing the petition challenge, but said: “I’m glad he’s got an interest in my campaign.”
Kinowski said if their positions were reversed and he had failed to follow the petition protocol he would not be upset to be knocked off the primary ballot. If the rules are not followed, Kinowski said, there would be no point in having petitions.
Preston said the signers on Thum’s second page wrote in their addresses, including the city, but did not write city of Johnstown in the designated column. It appears as if the first signatory on the second page placed the city reference in the wrong column and subsequent signers followed that example, Preston said.
Thum said he remains undeterred. “I’ve got some decent support ... and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Kinowski is seeking his fourth two-year term.